Microgreens sound pretty cute and healthy, don’t they? Greens are great and anything is better when you do a tiny version of them. But you might also be wondering what are actually microgreens?
So here’s what you exactly need to know about what microgreens are. And why people like them, how they taste, what nutritional benefits they have, how to use them, how to grow them, and where to buy them.
What are microgreens?
“Microgreens are an innovative category of vegetables that are harvested as tender unripe green,” Francesco Di Gioia, Ph. D., assistant professor of vegetable science at Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, told SELF. These tiny greens are the seedlings created by germinating the seeds of plants like vegetables, herbs, and some pseudo-grains (like amaranth and buckwheat) including wild edible species, Di Gioia says.
Somewhere between a sprout and a baby vegetable, microgreens are essentially the same plant you would buy in the supermarket (like a vegetable or herb) much Tyler Matchett, co-founder of Splash of Greens, an urban microgreen farm in New Brunswick, Canada, tells SELF. “If they grew, they would become a full-grown vegetable,”
“Microgreens are also known as“ vegetable confetti ”because they are tiny, beautiful greens that are characterized by a multitude of colors and shapes as well as very different and intense, sometimes surprising flavors,” says Di Gioia. There are hundreds of different types of microgreens. Pea, sunflower, broccoli, and radish microgreens are some of the most popular varieties with Matchett customers. Other varieties are beet, chard, cucumber, pea, endive, savoy cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mustard, cauliflower, tatsoi, spinach, kohlrabi, mint, basil, sorrel, cauliflower, rocket, cabbage, fenugreek, carrot, mizuna, corn, turnip, chervil , Celery, spring onions and komatsuna.
Why people love microgreens
You may be wondering what’s so awesome about these little greens. A couple of things, actually.
1. They’re delicious.
First and foremost, these little boys can add a surprising amount of flavor and texture to a dish. “A handful of microgreens can enrich very simple dishes while adding color, volume and flavor at the same time,” says Di Gioia. “Chefs love them and have used them for years as a side dish or as a unique way to add flavor to a dish,” adds Matchett, noting that they are particularly valued for their delicate texture and wide range of flavors.
How they taste exactly depends on the plant. “Microgreens can be mild, sweet, bitter, sour or create more complex flavors in our mouths [like] hot, peppery or liquorice, ”says Di Gioia.
“The taste can almost be described as a more concentrated form of the vegetable,” explains Matchett. “A spicy radish, for example, is usually spicier in its micro-green form. And you’ll get a broader flavor profile, but you’ll still know it’s radish – it’s just the tastiest radish you’ve ever tasted. “
2. They are nutritious.
Microgreens can also add an extra dose of plant goodness to your meal. “In recent years, several studies have shown that microgreens are nutrient-dense and a good source of essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidants,” says Di Gioia. While “there is a great deal of variability between species and growing conditions,” as Di Gioia points out, microgreens in general often have a higher concentration of these micronutrients than their full blown counterparts, pound for pound. According to the US National Library of Medicine, many microgreens contain four to six times more vitamins and antioxidants than the full-grown plant.